Root Anatomical Traits and Their Possible Contribution to Drought Tolerance in Grain Legumes

Purushothaman, R and Zaman-Allah, M and Mallikarjuna, N and Pannirselvam, R and Krishnamurthy, L and Gowda, C L L (2013) Root Anatomical Traits and Their Possible Contribution to Drought Tolerance in Grain Legumes. Plant Production Science , 16 (1). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1349-1008

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Legumes are mostly grown rainfed and are exposed to various types of drought ranging from terminal drought to intermittent drought. The objective of this study was to compare the root anatomy of six major legume crops in relation to their drought adaptation strategies. Plants of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.), pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan [L.] Millsp.), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. walp.), soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) were grown along with pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br.) in a Vertisol field during the rainy season of 2010. Four root segments from 35-day-old plants of each crop species were collected, 10 cm from the root tip and used for making transverse sections. These root segments were thinner in both groundnut and pigeonpea than in other legumes but similar to those of pearl millet. Soybean and pigeonpea had a relatively thinner cortex than the other legumes. Xylem vessel size and the numbers were apparently the most discriminating traits of legumes. Pigeonpea is equipped to conduct small quantities of water per unit time with a few narrow xylem vessels and that explains the conservative early growth of pigeonpea. Chickpea and cowpea showed moderate xylem passage per root indicating that they are capable of absorbing water moderately and are well equipped for regular drought episodes. The development of cortical and stele tissue and their proportion is markedly influenced by moisture availability to the root system.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Others > Food Legumes
Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2013 07:51
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2014 10:27
Official URL:
Funders: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Acknowledgement: This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Tropical Legumes 1 (TL1) grant.
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